Years ago, a wealthy man called Dr. Anderssen hired Karl Lykos’ father as a guide to a trip in Tierra del Fuego, during that, Henderssen’s young daughter Tanya disappeared, and it was Karl (also a child) who found her inside a cave full of pterodactyls. While defending Tanya from mutant pterodactyls, Karl was bitten by one of the creatures. During his recovery, he discovered that he could now drain the life-force of other organisms, when he touched his dog and drain his force for himself and recover instantly.
He found himself repeatedly tempted to use his new power, feeling that he needed to drain life energy from other humans or animals to survive. When Karl's father died, Mr. Anderssen took Karl into his home in thanks for rescuing Tanya. As the years passed, Karl and Tanya fell in love. But Tanya's wealthy father would not allow her to date Karl, because of his lack of wealth. In an effort to win Mr. Anderssen's support, Karl went to medical school and became a physician. He treated patients through hypnosis, but secretly robbed them of energy at the same time.
Dr. Lykos became a colleague of Professor Charles Xavier, but while Xavier had been looking for mutants to help them, Dr. Lykos secretly wanted to drain their force. When Havok was injured by the Living Monolith, they sought treatment with Dr. Lykos. He absorbed energy from the young mutant, and a horrible side-effect happened: he transformed into a vampiric, pterodactyl-like monster with human intelligence and superhuman hypnotic powers. He named himself Sauron, after the main antagonist from Lord of the Rings, and battled the X-Men.
When Sauron got to Dr. Anderssen’s apartment in order to kill him and steal Tanya, the X-Men stopped him, and then he realized that Tanya would never love him as a villain and murderer, and fly away back to Tierra del Fuego to die alone without human contact. Tanya realize that he is at her father’s old mountain house and go there by herself, only to watch Karl jump off a cliff in order to prevent himself killing her and drain her energies.
At first presumed dead, Karl actually survived, merely unconscious on a ledge below. He journeyed to the Savage Land and survived in human form by only draining energy from animals. He befriended Ka-Zar and used his medical skills over many months to care for Ka-Zar's allies. But when several X-Men were stranded in the Savage Land, Lykos was again overwhelmed with the desire to absorb the powerful life energy of mutants. He transformed into Sauron once again after absorbing Storm 's energy. He reverted back to human form during a battle with the X-Men, and Ka-Zar explained that Lykos was an ally.
After a while, Tanya learned that Karl had survived the leap from the cliff. She joined Angel and Spider-Man on a journey to find Karl in the Savage Land. Unfortunately, he had reverted to his Sauron form and joined the Savage Land Mutates. The X-Men traveled to the Savage Land again and defeated Sauron and the Mutates. They brought Lykos back to the United States, and at the X-Mansion Professor X seemingly cured Lykos of his condition.
Karl and Tanya decided to resume their relationship and a normal life.
Major Story Arcs
As frequently happen to Marvel villains, Lykos was again transformed into Sauron by Toad and joined the Brotherhood of Evil Mutants. Sauron went on to menace the X-Men and other heroes on a number of occasions. He and the Brotherhood teamed up with the Morlocks and fought against X-Force. During a fight in the Adirondack Mountains, Sauron seriously injured Cannonball. He was then shot by Cable and presumed dead. He later returned after hiding under a dock and rejoined Toad's Brotherhood and fought X-Factor.
Sauron became a prisoner of the recent Weapon X program jump-started by director Malcolm Colcord. Being held there against his will, Sauron started up a revolution with fellow agent Brent Jackson and dethroned Colcord as director, giving that position to Jackson. Sauron in return became a more powerful villain on the team, but vanished after Weapon X rival John Sublime launched an attack on Weapon X, and the group had to go underground.
Attack on the New Avengers
Sauron's colleagues hired Electro to break him out of Riker's Island and then he went back to Savage Land. There he held the new team of Avengers hostage, when they went after him to re-capture him. The team freed itself thanks to Iron Man's voice-activated armor, and were about to interrogate him, when he was shot through the head by the Black Widow. Fortunately for Sauron, he had absorbed Wolverine 's regenerative healing factor and recovered from his injury, just in time to be soundly defeated by the New Avengers. He was taken back into custody, but not before returning the favor to Black Widow by burning her with his fiery breath. He was apparently returned to the custody of Weapon X.
Attack on New Mutants
Sauron was last seen aboard a ship heading from the Savage Land to Utopia along with Lupos, Amphibious, Barbarus & Worm. While passing the Kitakyushu Airport in Japan, he took flight from the ship and laid waste to a bridge. Cyclops & Emma Frost monitor the incident and have already deployed the New Mutants to handle it. Cannonball falls out of their jet and powers up in midair and nails Sauron straight on. Dani reminds Sam to be cautious as the last time they fought Sauron eviscerated him. As Cypher, Sunspot and Warlock call for backup aboard the ship , Sam drives Sauron through the side of the ship and then out the other.
In his human form Karl Lykos is a fairly typical doctor, except he keeps his ability to absorb the life forces of other living things to sustain himself. If he absorbs the life force of a mutant this will trigger his transformation into his pterodactyl form and also he will absorb a portion of their powers temporarily. Due to manipulation by the Weapon X program, Sauron can expel the life force energy in concussive bursts from his hands.
In the pterodactyl form he is superhumanly strong and possesses the ability to fly at a natural winged flight limit. In battle Sauron has several additional weapons; a lethal beak and sharp talons on his hands and feet.
At some point in time prior to his New Avengers appearances he acquired an additional ability to breathe fire which he used to burn the second Black Widow in revenge for shooting him.
He also has an amplified hypnotic ability when he is in his pterodactyl form, that requires direct eye contact to complete. He frequently uses his hypnotic power to give his victims terrifying delusions that allies have become monsters.
- Height: (Lykos) 5'9", (Sauron) 7'
- Weight: (Lykos) 170lbs., (Sauron) 200lbs.
- Eyes: (Lykos) Brown, (Sauron) Red
- Hair: (Lykos) Brown, (Sauron) None
- Wingspan (Sauron): 12ft
In the Age of Apocalypse reality he was known as Sauron and was part of Forge´s Outcasts, a mutant resistance cell fighting against Apocalypse´s forces. During one of their missions, one of the Sauron's wings was injured preventing him to take action for a while. After a group of bounty hunters chased and killed almost all of the Outcasts, Nate embarked the journey to defeat Apocalypse entrusting him Sonique´s safety.
Later he appears as one of Sinister Six alongside Sonique, presumably because they were brainwashed by Sinister. During the final confrontation with the x-men he was pierced with Silver Samurai´s sword by Magneto in revenge of Quicksilver´s death.
In the first story line of the Exiles relaunch, he was living in Genosha along with most mutants. He decayed the organic shell of a nuclear device that was going to destroy the city. It would seem he perished in this act , when Magneto destroyed the bomb.
X-Men The Animated Series
Unlike his comic book counterpart, Karl Lykos in the X-Men animated series was a native Savage Land inhabitant that was kidnapped and horrifically experimented on by Mr. Sinister. After the fall of Sinister, he tried to regain control of the ancient land by attempting to become its overlord. However, after becoming free of the influence of the entity Garrok, Karl was taken back into the village of Ka-Zar, no longer a threat to the other humans since the mutants left the land, preventing him from absorbing their power and mutating back ito the fearsome Sauron.
Wolverine and the X-Men
Sauron was one of the mutants that were shown imprisoned in Genosha that was seen by Nightcrawler as Scarlet Witch tours him. Like other imprisoned mutants, he must have violated its rules.
X2 : X-Men United
Karl Lykos is among the names on the files Mystique sees on Yuriko's computer.
In this game, for Sega Genesis, Sauron appears as a boss character.
X-Men Legends II: Rise of Apocalypse
- Sauron also appeared as a mini boss in the Savage Land. He mentions that Apocalypse's lackeys kept trying to get him to join Apocalypse's cause. He attacked because the X-Men and the Brotherhood has allied with Ka-zar. He is voiced by John Kassir.